How I learned to stop worrying and love the cloud

In every industry, there comes a time of significant change. Disruptive technology and competitive pressure demand a new way of operating. Cloud computing is driving just such a revolution for businesses today.

Change or be changed

What Nicholas Carr called ‘the big switch’ in 2008 has now become the new normal. Instead of being a risky but bold move, companies that don’t embrace the cloud risk being left behind.

A significant proportion of cloud adopters are already seeing a reduction in capital expenditure, improved reliability of IT systems and lower risk for data loss.

Despite this, ‘UK-based users harbour some deep security concerns and this has a clear impact on how cloud services are adopted and deployed’ according to a 2016 report on Cloud Computing by USA Department of Commerce.

Companies that delay taking advantage of the cloud will get left behind. By concentrating on the business benefits provided, you can learn to stop worrying and love the cloud.

Cost savings

88 percent of British businesses using the cloud saved money in 2013, with almost two thirds able to reinvest those savings into driving growth. Since then, costs have fallen and cloud technology has improved.

Cloud technology enables businesses to pay only for the level of service used, scaling up or down as necessary. On-premise solutions are far less flexible and scaling up is a permanent decision that requires significant investment.

Security

Security is the primary concern for most businesses when considering the cloud. With well-publicised security breaches, it is understandable that businesses are wary. Although breaches are also possible with on-premise solutions, there is a belief that data is more secure in an on-premise environment.

Despite the hesitation, however, 77 percent of IT professionals say they trust the cloud more today than they did a year ago. And cloud service providers are working hard to keep building that trust. Microsoft Azure has built-in security technology, and by managing and controlling user access with multi-factor authentication it offers a more secure sign-in. This, combined with communication and process encryption, provides increased security measures.

Disruption

Businesses anticipate a high level of disruption when moving from legacy systems to virtual solutions, further compounding their resistance to the cloud.

This can be a complicated process and requires decisions about data consolidation. Working with a third-party cloud specialist enables a business to organise existing data and design appropriate processes to meet its needs. It also allows for future-proofing more easily than with on-premise infrastructure.

Productivity

Though the architectural redesign requires time and planning, the trade-off is the provision of a smoother working process and increased efficiency. The cloud provides businesses with the ability to react quickly to market changes, keeping teams on target and productive. In fact, of 120,000 global firms, nearly half state they use the cloud to improve output and efficiency.

Staff can connect from anywhere on any device. Further, cloud-based apps encourage collaboration by allowing teams to upload files to a central point. Live commenting and co-authoring on documents allows co-workers to get more done and save time. With improved efficiency, staff will feel less stressed and more focused.

Compliance

In moving data from on-premise solutions to the cloud, businesses must consider how that data will be stored, ensuring they remain compliant with laws and industry regulations.

Microsoft has recently opened data centres in the UK, enabling businesses to take advantage of local cloud storage. These centres, located in London, Durham and Cardiff, are crucial for businesses handling sensitive data, where regulations state that they must store their data in the UK.

Maximise your competitive edge

Due to the inevitable shift of IT services from on-premise to cloud, all businesses will eventually have to migrate. Delaying that process will only put you behind the competition.

By understanding the business requirements, cloud specialists can design a solution specific to your company’s needs. Partnering with a trusted provider, such as ComputerWorld, will maximise return and ensure a smooth transition process. It’s time to stop worrying, and learn to love the cloud.